Amélie Mauresmo, 30, is France's most successful professional female tennis player. She has won more than 25 singles tournaments, including two Grand Slams, both in 2006—the Australian Open and Wimbledon. Mauresmo decided that she wanted to play tennis at the young age of four, after watching Yannick Noah win the men's singles title at the 1983 French Open. Mauresmo recently spoke to Wine Spectator about her favorite wines and her passion for collecting.
Wine Spectator: How did you get into drinking wine?
Amélie Mauresmo: I first learned how to appreciate fine wine a number of years ago, thanks to Alexia Dechaume-Balleret, my coach from 2000 to 2002, who is also a true wine lover. I then became interested in the history of various châteaus, starting with the region of Bordeaux, and more recently Burgundy.
WS: Do you collect wine?
AM: Yes, I have some really nice bottles. Before buying a wine, I like to learn as much as I can about it. When I have nothing to do during a tournament, I end up spending quite a bit of time on the Internet where I hunt for bargains.
WS: What are you drinking at the moment?
AM: During the summer holidays, I was able to indulge in my cellar. I decided to try a 1916 Margaux that still had a very surprising nose, but which was of course not quite the same on the palate. However, opening a 93-year-old bottle remains an unbelievable experience. I also felt like treating my friends to a 1982 Lafite Rothschild, followed by, last but not least, a 1967 and a 1997 Château d'Yquem. This is a wine that I always thoroughly enjoy as it is consistently exceptional.
WS: Do you seek out new wine experiences while on tour abroad?
AM: When I was recently in Spain, another tennis player, Conchita Martinez, introduced me to the really excellent Bodegas Vega Sicilia Ribera del Duero Unico Gran Riserva.
WS: What was your most memorable wine experience?
AM: I have been lucky enough to share a number of unforgettable experiences around a glass of wine. I remember a dinner at Château Latour that will remain forever etched in my memory. We were received like royalty, and to our delight, we tasted great vintages: 1971, 1967, 1959, 1961 and 1945. The dinner ended on a high note, with a 1975 Château d'Yquem. Another great moment was a tasting at the Cap Ferret, near Bordeaux, organized by me and a friend. We were as excited as children, as it was an opportunity to share a 1937 Château d'Yquem that I had acquired with the intention of opening after winning a Grand Slam tournament. This was an exceptional evening with outstanding wines including a 1959 and a 1945 Mouton-Rothschild, and 1937, 1967 and 1997 Château d'Yquem.